It is surprising how often I hear people readily admit that they are a slave to technology. Our family is still in the process of slowly learning to adapt to using only the technology that is truly a necessity. Just when you believe that you have done all that you can, there is something else that you find yourself making adjustments with. Refrigeration is one of these areas.
The thought that brought me to considering refrigeration is how dependent we are on it as a society. Think about what would happen is the power went out due to a storm. How much food would you lose? Let's say that you go to your refrigerator right now and open it up only to find that the condensor went out and it was no longer keeping the food cold. How would that affect your family? I have seen many times a refrigerator that is stocked to the gills with containers of food. So much food that much of it ends up being tossed out due to becoming spoiled before it was used. Such a waste!
Now, think about exactly what you keep in the refrigerator. Are there items that you don't use often, such as condiments, that you could utilize in a better way? The goal for me it to limit the refrigerator use to only the extreme essentials.
Condiments, like ketchup, I am able to repackage into much smaller amounts. If you buy the #10 size cans of ketchup, you are able to home can it into the smaller 1/2 pint size canning jars. The smaller size is plenty to use, but not so much that I contantly have a bottle of it in the refrigerator. I try to purchase condiments that need refrigeration only when needed for a specific recipe or meal. Buying the actual size needed will save refrigeration usages also. Try making some things fresh, like mayonnaise.
When cooking, try to eliminate leftovers by keeping portions at the right level when preparing the food. Not only will you save money in the ingredients, but you won't be tossing out leftovers later on. If making foods that can be home canned for the pantry, take it into consideration during the meal preparation. One example is when I make a pot roast with vegetables. I make a large roast but only enough vegetables are added for that one meal. Once the meal is done, I divide the leftover roast into jars. I then add the raw veggies to the jars. Add the liquid from the roast with just enough water to fill the jars properly. Processing the roast this way will allow you to have all the wonderful flavors of the roast, yet the veggies will not be over-cooked.
In summer, my refrigerator contents drops down to minimal. I have a lot of bottled water filling the bottom shelf. Another shelf contains cold salads, such as macaroni salad or a onion & cucumber salad. Sweet tea is always present, along with fruit flavored drinks for the kids. The only milk is a quart container (a day's supply) of almond milk. Eggs and cheese round out the contents. With the exception of eggs & cheese, I only store enough perisables in the refrigertor for that day's use. This is the biggest savings fo us. Should the refrigerator stop working, we only lose a day's supply of food. It is nothing that we cannot easily replace.
I took a serious look at what I truly needed a refrigerator for and found that our family could easily use only a small office sized refrigerator for our needs. That was a huge discovey! I am so glad that I learned to home can. That alone has done much to reduce the need for refrigeration.